PATERSON, NJ — Smoke billowing from Straight and Narrow’s building on Straight Street could be seen in surrounding communities for much of Saturday afternoon, drawing a response from fire departments from as wide a geographic area.

According to Mayor Andre Sayegh the five-alarm blaze, one he referred to as “unlike anything (he’d) ever seen in Paterson,” began just before 11 a.m.on August 24.

About 300 people were displaced by the fire, including both from the destroyed residential treatment center and surrounding homes — many relocated to Paterson School 21 on Dale Avenue, and being cared for with the assistance of the American Red Cross. 

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“Our priority right now is to make sure people have shelter, food  and water,” Matt Teter, chief external relations officer for the American Red Cross, told Sayegh in a Facebook video. “This is a horrible situation, we never want to see anything like this.” 

Though firefighters remained on the scene,  Sayegh told TAPinto at approximately 5 p.m. that the fire was "under control."

"Our firefighters once again showed that they are the very best at what they do," Sayegh said, also extending his appreciation to the Paterson Police Department and Paterson Department of Public Works for responding. "The job's not over, there will be cleaning up, and eventually rebuilding to be done."

"It's times like these when Paterson shows it's best side."

The cause of the fire will be investigated, Sayegh said.